Car safety illusionary

Jason Okamoto

Here in my car, I feel safest of all.”- Gary Numan “So drive me far-I don’t care where-just far.” – Chino Moreno from the Deftones.The most disturbing phone call I have ever received was at 6:00 a.m. from a friend who’d called to tell me that her sister had just died a couple of hours earlier in a car crash. This happened less than a year ago.

Last month, I was equally shaken when I picked up the paper and read that a former Hornet Staff writer, and friend of mine, had died in car crash in August. That same month, a mother killed her twelve-year-old daughter when trying to beat another car to a left-hand turn. Similar incidents happen every day, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about dying in my car.

Over 3,000 people die every month in auto accidents, the same amount as those taken in the WTC attacks.

Driving is a privilege and should be taken seriously. However, this is not the case amongst many people my age.

To many, driving is the norm. Everybody does it, and if you don’t then you are weird. How dare you use the sidewalk, putting one foot in from of the other? How dare you peddle a bicycle past the age of 14?To these people, driving is their God-given right. At the age of sixteen it was meant for them to drive, as if it were written in the stars. Looking up to the stars they imagine the kind of image a vehicle can give them.

A pick up truck, a luxury car, or a supped up sports car with a “Back to the Future” spoiler.

All these visions keep boys up late at night dreaming about how cool they’ll be, or how much they’ll be compensated for. It is too bad that mommy never told them about how cars crash. How cars will let you down, just like people do. Or about how easy it is to mistake a car’s insides for a bed or coffin.

Most automobiles are advertised as being a symbol of class, freedom, and rebelliousness.

I want an expensive car.

I want to feel liberated, and feel like James Dean for about fifteen minutes. This is why I desperately don’t want to die in my car.

My car is Christ in that it pays for my sins, and loves me unconditionally. I don’t ever want to find myself bleeding and laying twisted in its machinery, but I’m sure it would forgive me if I ever let it down. I love driving so much that it pleases me to see other people drive.

Rush hour traffic is a beautiful thing, knowing that there are other good drivers surrounding you. Whenever I am cut off by one of them, I clap my hands in applause.

What I can’t stand, however, are those who complain about traffic and how brave they were to drive to your house. As if they didn’t appreciate that they didn’t die in-between point A and point B.Novelist Don DeLillo once wrote, “A car is like a religion.” This would imply that each driver of each car, has a ritualistic observance of the faith put in his or her automobile. I agree and wish more people felt that way.